Tuesday 29 August 2023
Monday 28 August 2023
Out of Norway with their second full length album come The W Likes, a trio from Hamar consisting of Willy (guitar/vocals); Balbosj (bass) and Kurti (drums). The album, conveniently entitled "II" (Ramah Records/Evil Noise Recordings)), continues in much the same vein as its self titled predecessor "The W Likes", in that it is a fuzzilicious blend of atmospheric stoner rock and raucous proto-metal fronted by vocals that are soulful in their lower register and Cornell-esque at the top end of their range. We think you are going to like this.
The W Likes' "II" is an enthralling blend of grunge tinted languidity and crunching stoner heaviness, an immersive and warm album that can at any given moment spontaneously combust and proceed to melt your face off. 2023 has already given us some great albums and "II" is another one to add to the list
Sunday 27 August 2023
So what do you expect to hear from a band whose membership is made up of musicians from a diverse range of influences that range from black metal all the way through to punk rock, well what you wont be expect is the sound Swedish groovsters Eyes Of The Oak bring to the table with their debut release "The Stone Vortex". Eyes Of The Oak hail from Södermanland County, Sweden, and their groove consists of an enthralling hybrid blend of psych-doom, stoner rock, prog, post metal and drone that doesn't quite lend itself wholly to either genre yet will appeal to fans of each.
Eyes Of The Oak open their account with title track "The Stone Vortex" a mid-tempo doom tinted tome that grabs you with its droning and heavily phased guitar intro and refuses to let go until you have witnessed its very last dying note, filling your ears with bluesy guitar solo's, crunching power chords and melodic vocal harmonies along the way. "Dead and Alive" follows and boasts a groove and vocal melody that fellow Swedes Ghost would be proud to have in their repertoire only delivered with a touch more grittiness and bite than the current version of Ghost could ever hope to muster. Next track "Evil Old Trees" is for Desert Psychlist the highlight of the album, a low slow and doomy opus replete with soaring bluesy guitar solos, growling bass and ponderous pummelling percussion decorated with a gravelled and menacing semi spoken/whispered vocal, for those who like their grooves torch-like and atmospheric this is manna from heaven. Heavily phased guitars riffs and punchy proto-doomic rhythms inform next track "First Sign of Life", aligned with a vocal that has an epic doom almost Viking metal feel to it while "Hex of the Season" weaves prog, post metal and even a little doomic shoegaze into its sonic tapestry. Final number "The Mirror Maze" finds Eyes Of The Oak shoe-horning everything from goth metal to proggish occult rock into a song that soars and plummets between tasteful and discordant without overly committing to either.
© 2023 Frazer Jones
Friday 25 August 2023
© 2023 Frazer Jones
Tuesday 15 August 2023
Instrumental rock based music is somewhat of an acquired taste but one that once acquired pays huge dividends, especially in this thing we call the "underground" where a band without vocals is something to be embraced rather than shunned. One band that have almost become legendary for their instrumental jams, although they have toyed with vocals in the past, are Puerto Rico's Iglesia Atomica a band who have been doing their "thang" since as far back as 1990 and have built up an extensive back catalogue of releases too numerous to go into here .Over the years the bands line up has taken a few twists and turns but one constant has been Agustín Criollo, the guitarist/bassist/keyboardist has been the bands driving force since day one and has become somewhat of a respected elder statesmen within the Latin underground scene. The band's current line up of Criollo (guitars/keyboards/samples); Joel Doal Garcis (bass) and Danny Maymi (drums/percussion) have just released their latest album "Los demenios andan suelos" on Bandcamp and like all their releases its one you'll want to own.
Title track "Los demonios andan sueltos" comes out of the traps like one of those extended jams that 70's bands would regularly take off on while their singer was getting jiggy with a groupie side stage, hard rock style riffage and searing lead work backed by basement level low growling bass and incredibly busy drumming. It's not all swirling guitars and hard rock grooves with Iglesia Atomica though, this band have not built the reputation on just riffs, solos and punchy rhythms as you will discover when this song suddenly dips its toes into drone-like lysergic waters and then comes out the other side on a psych-doom groove that would put Ufomammut to shame. For next track "Aquelarre" "(featuring guest guitarist Diego Cartulin on the songs solo) Iglesia Atomica get a little bluesy but not in any conventional way, this is blues mixed with a little rice'n'beans flavoured dub and ambient heavy psych that, in places, even wanders into Ozric Tentacles(ish) trippy spacious prog territories. "Supercabrón" sees Iglesia Atomica diving deeper into the blues but also deeper into the more experimental and cosmic side of their sound, Criollo taking full advantage of both his guitar pedals and keyboards to bring a multitude of colours and textures into play on a song that routinely shifts between ambient experimentation and dissonant heaviness, his efforts perfectly supported by Garcis' booming bass and Maymi's solid tight drumming. "Requiem para un planeta" is listed as a bonus track on the bands Bandcamp page, whether this will eventually make an appearance on any proposed vinyl version of this album Desert Psychlist does not know but it is one worth having either way, a stunning opus that is a mixture of experimental heavy drone, Hawkwind-esque space rock and torch-like blues backed by a unusually restrained but highly effective rhythm section.
Friday 11 August 2023
Wednesday 9 August 2023
"Hey friend! Whatcha goin do that for man? You've had, your filthy way, with over half of them" is the recurring lyric gracing opening song "Slugs Are The Enemy", no explanation of these words is offered nor is there any needed as this is all about the groove, guitarist/vocalist DD and drummer/vocalist Be Rad framing those lyrics in a groove built around powerfully thrashed drum skins and heavily hit guitar strings mired in heavy rock and metal dynamics. Just a hint of heavy bluesiness informs next song "The Unspoken" but it is only a hint as once again the dynamic is chiefly metallic with DD and Be Rad harmonising in low grainy vocal tones about lines that are broken and "fallen angels" against a backdrop of equally grainy stonerized metal. There is an air of Sabbathian proto-doom to found on following song "Ignite Your Soul", DD breaking out his wah pedal to add a little "wacka-wacka" colouring to the proceeding while Be Rad pummels his drums into submission beneath. "She Sells" sees Lucifungus mixing it up a little bit by shifting between time signatures but never going overboard while "Ride To The Sea" finds the duo pulling on their black robes for a riff heavy workout that routinely shifts between proto and traditional doom. Final song "Saga" boasts the immortal line "I don't know what i'm going to do, but i know what i'm going to do to you" over a groove that spits and snarls with menace but somehow still manages to retain a level of twinkle in the eye joyousness and fun not often found in music of this nature.
Tuesday 8 August 2023
"Cassiopeia" is the sixth album from Californian outfit Turn Me On Dead Man, an album that follows on almost six years after the release of their last outing "Heavymetal Mothership". The band, Mykill Zlggy (guitars/vocals); Nick Doom (guitars); Christopher Melville Lyman (drums/percussion, vocals); Jonsey Daysleeper (keyboards/synthesizers) and Jeff Vengeance (bass), have up until the release of this, their new album, been known for packing their albums with songs ranging in lengths of between two to six minute durations, most falling into the shorter category . For "Cassiopeia" however Turn Me On Dead Man have decided to expand their songcraft over slightly longer durations, even stretching to a whopping (for them) nine and a half minutes at one point, the acid tinted psych, heavy metal and prog that informed their previous releases still very much in evidence but this time eked out over longer time frames, its a move that suits their music perfectly
"Apocolypse Wow" is first up and is a song that boasts a shifting musical attack that despite its heavy crunching guitar refrains and punchy rhythms possesses a groove and vocal melody that might have easily seen the song featuring on one of the more adventurous mainstream rock radio stations if it were not for it regularly veering off-piste into proggier territories . "My Vast Empire" follows and finds TMODM toying with soaring exotic scales and shoegaze-like dynamics around a vocal that possesses a touch of breathy garage rock sneeriness, while "Eva" sees TMODM mixing shoegaze textures with a touch of sleazy glam rock and balancing those dynamics between rocking and restrained, an unusual combination but one that works well. For their next track, "Moonling", TMODM go cosmic with a stunningly infectious song that sees the band playing to all their strengths, swirling synths and keyboard textures married to off kilter dual guitar motifs pushed and steered by a bass and drum rhythm section who know their way around a fusion style groove, vocals don't really make an appearance until the song reaches its half way mark but when they do they are delivered gloriously hazy and free-spirited. Next track "Starlust" finds TMODM in prog-metal mode, keeping things heavy but adding an element of complexity and intricacy to their attack that is at times jaw-dropping, Doom and Zlggy's guitars dualling, trading off and riffing in unison while Daysleeper's keyboards add a spacious element to the proceedings, Vengeance's low bouncy bass lines and Melville Lyman's school of jazz style drumming the glue holding everything together. For title/final track "Cassiopeia" TMODM throw everything into the pot, convoluted prog, heady psych, discordant jazz fusion and torch-like post metal, to create nine minutes thirty seven seconds of pure musical excellence that you know has to eventually come to an end but leaves you secretly hoping never will,
Saturday 5 August 2023
"Hope Is Heavy" opens with "Demon Behemoth", eight minutes nine seconds of fuzzed out riffage and thunderous percussion underscored with Hawkwind-esque swoops and swirls and decorated in hazy melodic vocals, you really could not ask for a better opening number or one that so perfectly captures what Acid Magus are all about. The band follow this up with "Progeneration" a song that in its initial stages follows a similar path to its predecessor but then routinely dials down the fuzz to allow the band to explore more lysergic waters, listen closely to the bass tones on this one, they are monstrous! "Caligulater" rears its head next, its punishing heavily percussive groove is enhanced by ear catching guitar motifs and a slightly more aggressive, but no less melodic vocal. Things take a turn for the cosmic with "A Planet, A Deathstar" with clean semi-acoustic guitar arpeggios flitting majestically over militaristic drum patterns and spoken narrative, as the song progresses so does its intensity morphing into torch-like heavy psych on its journey, the spoken narrative replaced by a powerful and melodic vocal. Fellow South African Johni Holiday (Ruff Majik) pitches in with the vocals for "Dead Weight" his unmistakable tones adding an element of garage rock sneer to a song that is probably the closest Acid Magus get to straight ahead stoner rock on the whole album, that is if you ignore its post-metal flavoured middle section. Final track "Trillion Tonne Sun" sees Acid Magus pitching heady psych against heavy sludge and come up winning on both levels, heaviness and haziness in perfect balance.
Thursday 3 August 2023
Both "Welcome" and "Library of Death" opened with strong impactful tracks that set the tone for the rest of their respective albums and opening song "Awakening" does exactly the same thing for this, the bands third album. "Awakening" begins with the sound of bagpipes played over a backdrop of crashing waves then explodes into a groove that is a mixture of doom, heavy metal and classic rock over which the bands three guitarists fire off crunching chord progressions and searing solos like there is no tomorrow. Eriksson's distinctive throaty vocals tell of becoming "one with this mire" and are offset in the chorus by Grant's clean, almost symphonic tones, the combined effect giving the song an epic doom feel. The epic feel of the opening song is even more pronounced on following song "The Parish", slower, danker and murkier than its predecessor, and featuring nicely pitched spoken segments from Grant, the song treads a musical path that sits somewhere between Candlemass and Pagan Altar while still retaining its own unique identity.. We probably should of explained earlier that "Where The Old Gods Play-Act 1" is the first instalment of a two part concept based around the story of an 18th century priest with an (as yet) undisclosed agenda, so its not surprising that lyrically some songs lean towards anti-religious, and you can't get anymore anti-religious than accusing the head of the Catholic Church of being the devil as Dun Ringill do on the excellent "The Devil Wears a Papal Tiara" a song that seamlessly meshes doomic heaviness with elements of Celtic metal flair. Following number "Baptised In Fire" begins with the sound of a reed pipe being played over the sound of trickling water then erupts into a metallic reel over which Eriksson preaches in grizzled tones of a "new world order" promising that it will be "magnificent" while "Nathaniels Hymn" sees bassist Winberg and drummer Grant laying down a series of thrumming grooves for guitarists Stegemann, Florén and Grammann to embellish with Celtic flavoured harmonies, scorching bluesy lead and crunching power chords while Eriksson implores, in tones grave and gritty, to be heard, seen, felt and fed. Up next is "Blood of the Lord", a song with a strong cinematic feel, its vocal mix of gritty lead and Gregorian flavoured cadences and its inclusion of a solemn prayer, incanted to a backdrop of gentle arpeggios, adding considerable weight to that feel. For the closing number we get "The Last Supper" a song themed around a discovery of betrayal set against a backdrop of gnarly stonerized metal, the song serving as somewhat of a cliff-hanger in the albums overall story and thus setting things up nicely for the eventual arrival of "Where The Gods Play-Act 2".